P. Rees

REES, Percy (James Percival)
Lieutenant, Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Formerly Corporal 1075, Royal Field Artillery

James Percival (Percy) Rees was the son of William David Rees and Mary Ann Dowdeswell. William and Mary were married at Merthyr Tydfil in 1879. James Percival was one of at least three children who were:

Thomas Dowdeswell Rees, born in 1881
Florence Rebecca Rees, born in 1882 and
James Percival Rees who was born in 1884.

By 1891 Mary Ann Rees and her children were living at 6 Suzannah Place, Treharris, her husband William having died in 1886. Prior to this, and in 1881, William and Mary were farmers at Tophill, Nelson, and were shown to have 160 acres of land.

In 1901, Mary Ann, Florence and James were living at 10 Shingrig Road, Nelson and James was shown on Census records as an architect’s pupil.

By 1911, James Percival Rees had moved to 5 Gwendoline Street, Blaengarw, Ogmore Vale, along with his wife Margaret Rees (nee Rosser) and their one year old daughter Dorothy Margaret Rees. James’ marriage to Margaret Rosser was registered in the third quarter of 1908 at Merthyr Tydfil. At this time, James is shown as a ‘sinker’ in the colliery.

After the outbreak of war, it was not long before James enlisted since his medal index card shows that he first entered the war in France (after training) on 20th November 1915. He was by now, Corporal 1075, 175 Battery, Royal Field Artillery. He later advanced to the rank of Lieutenant and was attached to the 13th battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps. His Medal Index card also shows that at the time it was created, James was living at 71 Covenny Street, Splott, Cardiff.

James Percival Rees died on 31st March 1922 and left the sum of £228 to his wife Margaret. He is buried at Llanfabon Cemetery, and although I have spent much time researching the grave, I have been unable to find it.

William Rees, James’ father, was born in 1857, the son of Thomas and Rebecca Rees, farmers at Parc Newydd, Glancynon, Llanwonno. William had four siblings who were: James, Lavinia, Lydia and Rhoda Rees.

James’ mother, Mary Ann Dowdeswell was also born in about 1857, at Pontypool, Monmouthshire. Her parents were Thomas Dowdeswell and Mary Ann Scott. In 1871, Thomas was a platelayer on the railways, shown as living at Shingrig in Nelson. Mary Ann Dowdeswell, at 14 years old, was not living at home but living with her mother’s sister, Margaret Helen (m. Bew) and her family at The Queen Inn, Treforest.
Thomas and Mary Ann Dowdeswell had a number of children but through various census reports I have compiled the following list:

Mary Ann, born in 1857
Thomas Henry, born in 1858
Margaret Helen (Ellen), born 1866
Caroline, born in 1869
Jessie (f), born in 1870
William, born in 1872
Ralph, born in 1885
Robert Orton, born in 1888

From the newspaper cutting information below, it seems that the Dowdeswell family had a distinguished military connection. I have researched this and have found the following which I believe correct and accurate, (even though I found it rather difficult to work out at first).

Thomas Henry Dowdeswell, from the article, became a Major. I cannot find any records that can confirm this, though I have found a record of a Major Thomas REGINALD Dowdeswell who served with the Welsh Regiment. Home address is shown as Gateshead, Tyne and Wear and therefore possibly not the correct man.

William Dowdeswell was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Welsh Regiment. He was awarded the 1915 Star, War and Victory medals having been present at the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, after entering that theatre of war on 17th May 1915. He applied for his medals on 31st December 1919 while holding the rank of Major. He again applied for his medals in September 1921. He was effectively promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 29th September 1922.

William Dowdeswell, Lt Col, had a son named Horace Scott Dowdeswell who was born in about 1899. Horace was the only son of William and Amelia Elizabeth Dowdeswell whose three other children were girls named Edna Lewis Scott, Veronica Lewis Scott and Marjorie Lewis Scott Dowdeswell. Horace Scott Dowdeswell was a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion, Welsh Regiment and was killed in action, aged 19yrs, on 3rd November 1917. He is buried at Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine.

Ralph Dowdeswell, above, had a son named Ralph Stuart Dowdeswell who had a short military service between 29th February 1916 and 3rd January 1917 as Private 6060, 5th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. He was discharged under ‘Para 392 KR’ and the reason shows as ‘sickness’


April 8th 1922.

Readers will regret to learn of the death on Friday evening at Cardiff of Mr Percy Rees, son of Mrs Rees, 69, Shingrig Road, Nelson. Deceased who was extremely well known in Nelson, was an architect and surveyor, and saw much service during the war. He was ill only a few days.

April 15th 1922.

As briefly recorded last week, the death occurred the previous Friday at Covenny Street, Cardiff of Mr Percy Rees, 69, Shingrig Road, Nelson, son of the late Mr William Rees. Percy who was only 38 years old was only ill about four days with pneumonia, and the news of his untimely death came as a great shock to all his relatives and friend. Deceased was a native of Nelson and was extremely well known and well respected. He was married in 1910 to Margaret, Daughter of the late Mr David Rosser, Wellington Hotel, Nelson, and they had two children. He had a splendid record of war service, having joined the Royal Field Artillery on the first day war commenced, and later being gazetted a Lieutenant in the 5th Welsh, with which Regiment he served overseas.
On demobilisation he accepted an appointment under the Imperial War Graves Commission and spent over two years in connection with this work in Belgium, France and Germany. A few months ago he was appointed Inspector of the Bristol area. Prior to the war, Mr Rees had served many years with The Glamorgan Yeomanry, volunteers and territorials.
The funeral took place on Wednesday at Llanfabon Cemetery.
Principal mourners:
Mrs Rees, wife, Mrs Rees, mother, Mrs Osborne and Doug Osborne, sister and nephew, Mr F Rosser, brother-in-law, Major T H Dowdeswell, Tenby, Colonel and Mrs W Dowdeswell, Porthcawl, uncles and aunts.

[Source: Merthyr Express]

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